CASE MANAGEMENT

CS 075P Safeguarding Case Information

10/98 Revised 01/17/18 Training Completed 01/31/18

42 USC 654(26); U.C.A. 62A-4a, 62A-11-304.4; 45 CFR 303.21; R527-005

 

 

Statutory Authority and General Information

 

42 U.S.C. 654 requires each state plan to:

(26) have in effect safeguards, applicable to all confidential information handled by the State agency, that are designed to protect the privacy rights of the parties, including—

(A) safeguards against unauthorized use or disclosure of information relating to proceedings or actions to establish paternity, or to establish, modify, or enforce support, or to make or enforce a child custody determination;

(B) prohibitions against the release of information on the whereabouts of 1 party or the child to another party against whom a protective order with respect to the former party or the child has been entered;

(C) prohibitions against the release of information on the whereabouts of 1 party or the child to another person if the State has reason to believe that the release of the information to that person may result in physical or emotional harm to the party or the child;

(D) in cases in which the prohibitions under subparagraphs (B) and (C) apply, the requirement to notify the Secretary, for purposes of section 653(b)(2) of this title, that the State has reasonable evidence of domestic violence or child abuse against a party or the child and that the disclosure of such information could be harmful to the party or the child; and

(E) procedures providing that when the Secretary discloses information about a parent or child to a State court or an agent of a State court described in section 653(c)(2) or 663(d)(2)(B) of this title, and advises that court or agent that the Secretary has been notified that there is reasonable evidence of

domestic violence or child abuse pursuant to section 653(b)(2) of this title, the court shall determine whether disclosure to any other person of information received from the Secretary could be harmful to the parent or child and, if the court determines that disclosure to any other person could be harmful, the court and its agents shall not make any such disclosure; ” (Emphasis added).

 

Case information, including address and employer information, for the non-custodial parent (NCP) or the custodial parent (CP) and child(ren) will not be safeguarded, unless one of the parties requests it.  If the Office of Recovery Services/Child Support Services (ORS/CSS) receives a request to safeguard the case along with the appropriate supporting documentation required by law, the case should be safeguarded accordingly.

 

Once the case has been safeguarded, any identifying information relating to that individual, including but not limited to the individual’s Social Security Number, residential and mailing addresses, employment information, and financial information should be considered confidential information and should not be released.  For more information regarding confidential information, refer to the definitions in subsection “Definitions” below and R527-5 Release of Information. 

 

45 CFR 303.21(e) states:

“In addition to, and not in lieu of, the safeguards described in §307.13 of this chapter, which governs computerized support enforcement systems, the IV-D agency shall establish appropriate safeguards to comply with the provisions of this section.  These safeguards shall also include prohibitions against the release of information when the State has reasonable evidence of domestic violence or child abuse against a party or a child and that the disclosure of such information could be harmful to the party or the child, as required by section 454(26) of the Act, and shall include use of the family violence indicator required under §307.11(f)(1)(x) of this chapter (Emphasis added). 

 

However, at times, it may be necessary to release confidential information in accordance with 45 CFR 303.21(d), which states:

“(d) Authorized disclosures   (1) Upon request, the IV-D agency may, to the extent that it does not interfere with the IV-D agency meeting its own obligations and subject to such requirements as the Office may prescribe, disclose confidential information to State agencies as necessary to carry out State agency functions under plans or programs under title IV (including tribal programs under title IV) and titles XIX, or XXI of the Act, including:

(i) Any investigation, prosecution or criminal or civil proceeding conducted in connection with the administration of any such plan or program; and

(ii) Information on known or suspected instances of physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, or negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child under circumstances which indicate that the child’s health or welfare is threatened.

“(2) Upon request, the IV-D agency may disclose information in the SDNH pursuant to sections 453A and 1137 of the Act for purposes of income and eligibility verification.

“(3) Authorized disclosures under paragraph (d)(1) and (2) of this section shall not include confidential information from the National Directory of New Hires or the Federal Case Registry, unless authorized under §307.13 of this Chapter or unless it is independently verified information.  No financial institution data match information may be disclosed outside the administration of the IV-D program and no IRS information may be disclosed, unless independently verified or otherwise authorized in Federal statute.  States must have safeguards in place as specified in section 454A(d) and (f) of the Act.” (Emphasis added.)

 

This means that even if case information has been safeguarded, it may be appropriate for CSS to release the information to the requesting party, such as a State official or a prosecuting attorney, if required to do so by court order.  When appropriate, case information may be sent or released to individuals or entities, as listed below.

 

1.                   The Federal Case Registry where it may be accessed by authorized IV-D agencies, such as other state child support agencies.

 

2.                   The other party or the other party’s attorney if requested and a parent-time order is provided.

 

3.                   A child support agency in another state if an intergovernmental (interstate) referral is made to that state. 

 

4.                   An employer and insurance company if a National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) is sent to enroll the children in an insurance plan.

 

5.                   The Office of Administrative Hearings if the case is referred for hearing. 

 

The office is responsible to ensure that a safeguarded individual’s identifying information is not released or disclosed without cause.  Unauthorized disclosure can result in penalties and legal sanctions for the office in accordance with 45 CFR 303.21(f) which states:

“Any disclosure or use of confidential information in violation of the Act and implementing regulations shall be subject to any State and Federal statutes that impose legal sanctions for such disclosure.”

 

 

Definitions

 

1.                   Appropriate documentation (as defined by the Office of Recovery Services/Child Support Services (ORS/CSS) – An administrative order from the Utah Division of Child and Family Services with a supported finding of “child abuse, neglect, or dependency,” a court order that substantiates domestic violence and/or child abuse, and/or prohibits or restricts access to the parent and/or child, or reasonable evidence of domestic violence or child abuse against a party or a child.  Required types of evidence or orders are as follows:

a.                   An administrative order pursuant to Section 62A-4a (Utah Division of Child and Family Services) with a supported finding of “child abuse, neglect, or dependency”;

b.                  A protective order;

c.                   A current court order prohibiting disclosure;

d.                  A current court order limiting or prohibiting the requested person’s contact with the party whose location is being sought (e.g., a restraining order, or a provision contained in a divorce decree or juvenile court order);

e.                  A criminal order (a criminal restitution order for non-payment of child support would not qualify unless it also prohibits or restricts access to the other party and/or child); or,

f.                    Police and/or hospital reports which document domestic violence or child abuse.

 

2.                   Confidential information (as defined by 45 CFR 303.21):

any information relating to a specified individual or an individual who can be identified by reference to one or more factors specific to him or her, including but not limited to the individual’s Social Security number, residential and mailing addresses, employment information, and financial information.”

 

3.                   Independent Verification (as defined by 45 CFR 303.21):

the process of acquiring and confirming confidential information through the use of a second source.  The information from the second source, which verifies the information about NDNH or FCR data, may be released to those authorized to inspect and use the information as authorized under the regulations or the Act.”

 

4.                   Public Information (as defined in R527-005.5):

“. . . a record is public unless classified as private, controlled, protected, or exempt.”

 

5.                   Protected Information (as defined in R527-005.6(1):

Private records include the following:

(a) the address, date of birth, and Social Security number (SSN) of ORS case participants;

(b) information about state employees, former employees and applicants, except as provided for in 63G-2-302.”

 

6.                   Restricted (as defined by R527-005.2(2)):

“. . . as used in subsection 63G-2-201(3)(b), refers to records to which access is restricted pursuant to court rule, another state statute, federal statute, or federal regulation.  These records are not subject to the procedures for access and disclosure outlined in GRAMA.”

 

 

Parent Notification to Request Safeguarding of Case Information

 

The CP and/or NCP receive notification from the office regarding safeguarding through the following methods:

 

1.                   CP (applicant/recipient) – If the CP applies for IV-A services from DWS or Non-IV-A child support services from CSS, s/he receives information on how to request his/her case information be safeguarded, as well as providing information on the supporting documentation that is required by law. 

 

The CP/applicant must complete the “Release of Information” section in the Application packet if s/he wants to request that her/his and/or child(ren)’s information be safeguarded, and s/he must provide CSS with the required documentation.

 

2.                   NCP - The NCP receives information on how to request his/her case information be safeguarded, as well as providing information on the supporting documentation that is required by law.

 

The NCP may also receive notice in the following documents if CSS is attempting to establish a child support order.

a.                   Notice of Agency Action (NAA); and,

b.                  Utah Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA) Child Support Orders.

 

Both of these documents instruct the NCP to make a safeguarding request in writing and provide the office with the required documentation.

 

3.                   Either parent or specified relative – If a parent or his/her legal counsel makes a written request based on a valid parent-time order for a party’s location information (address and/or employer), the non-requesting parent or specified relative receives the Notice of Request for Release of Information and the accompanying cover letter.  The notice informs the parent or specified relative of his/her option to contest the action and to request safeguarding of his/her case information. 

 

 

Safeguard Request

 

The CP or NCP may request that CSS safeguard his/her case information if they have a family violence (i.e., domestic or child abuse) issue, protective order, or an order prohibits or restricts access to the parent and/or child, so the information will not be released.  To request safeguarding, the CP or NCP must send a written request to CSS along with appropriate documentation.  For acceptable forms of documentation, refer to subsection Definitions above. 

 

If the party requesting safeguarding is in the process of obtaining a protective order, family violence order, or order prohibiting disclosure, s/he may provide documentation of a pending action for any of the above.  The case should be safeguarded for the individual and a call-up should be set to monitor the case for the necessary documentation.  If the appropriate documentation is:

 

1.                   Received –CSS Agents may safeguard the individual’s case information on ORSIS, unless the request is received during a release of information action.  Then the case information will be safeguarded by a Quality Assurance (QA) Specialist acting as a Presiding Officer. 

 

2.                   Not received within a reasonable time period (30 days) – Send the requesting party the Denial of Safeguarding Letter.  This letter informs the requesting party that his/her case will not be safeguarded until appropriate documentation is received.  Once/if the documentation is received, safeguard the case.

 

Once case information is safeguarded on ORSIS, an indicator is sent to the Federal Case Registry (FCR) that alerts the FCR NOT to make information on that participant accessible to agencies in other states.  Cases that have safeguarded information must also be identified as such when they are referred to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO), to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), to court, or to another state. 

 

 

Federal Case Registry

 

ORSIS automatically transmits certain case information to the Federal Case Registry (FCR).  If a “Y” is entered in the SAFEGUARD/OBGE or the SAFEGUARD/OBGR field, ORSIS flags the case information as safeguarded when it transmits to the FCR.  The flag alerts the FCR to:

 

1.                   Safeguard the participant’s case information; and,

2.                   Not release it to other agencies. 

 

A “Y” in the SAFEGUARD/OBGE field also safeguards the child(ren)’s case information. 

 

 

Cases Referred to the Office of Administrative Hearings

 

If a case is referred to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), review the evidence to determine if any of the information has been safeguarded.  If the information is or should be safeguarded:

 

1.                   Check “SAFEGUARD REQUESTED” on the “Administrative Hearing Checklist”; and,

2.                   Clearly mark each item of information that should be safeguarded. 

 

 

Information Sent to Courts

 

If safeguarded case information is sent electronically to the court, ORSIS will block the parties address and Social Security Number (SSN) and notify the courts that the participant’s information has been safeguarded. 

 

A NCP or CP may also request that their information at the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) be safeguarded by the court.  This is a separate request and the party making the request is responsible to contact the Clerk of Court for the necessary forms and return the completed form back to the Clerk of Court. 

 

When the Clerk of Court receives the request, s/he will conducts an independent search for any protective orders to determine if the participant’s case information should be safeguarded.  If a protective order is found, the information is safeguarded.  This type of safeguard request does not seal the court record; it only protects and safeguards information that is sent from the court through CSS to the FCR.

 

 

Intergovernmental Cases that have been Safeguarded

 

1.                   Utah Initiating State:

a.                   Custodial parent – If you refer a case to another state and the CP’s case information has been safeguarded on ORSIS, issue a Nondisclosure order and send it with the referral.  Because safeguarded information is classified as private information, it may not be included in the intergovernmental referral.  Therefore, you may not include the CP’s address or employer location in the interstate referral.  You must use the CSS local office address as the CP’s address.

b.                  Non-custodial parent.  If you refer a case to another state and the NCP’s case information has been safeguarded, issue a Nondisclosure Order and send it with the referral.  The responding state should not release the NCP’s information once it has been safeguarded. 

 

2.                   Utah Responding State: 

a.                   Custodial Parent:  If a non-disclosure order or some type of proof (court document, police records, etc.) that there has been family violence (i.e., domestic or child abuse) in the past for the CP accompanies a UIFSA interstate referral from another state and the other state has also sent the CP’s address, treat this case the same as you would a comparable in-state case, which has the CP’s case information safeguarded.

b.                  Non-custodial Parent:  If a non-disclosure order or some type of proof (court document, police records, etc.) that there has been family violence (i.e., domestic or child abuse) in the past for the NCP accompanies a UIFSA interstate referral from another state and the other state has also sent the NCP’s address, treat this case the same as you would a comparable in-state case, which has the NCP’s case information safeguarded.

 

3.                   Letter of Transmittal Requesting Registration:  Include this when sending a referral to another state for enforcement.  If the request is for NADC arrears enforcement, the form must be signed and notarized by the CP, if applicable.  If the NCP’s address is safeguarded, his/her address must be deleted before the form is printed.  The address cannot be taken out after it is printed, as all information above the signature line and Notary Seal on a document cannot legally be altered.